Ted's Pizza (Farmington, MN)

  • Karen Cooper and Bruce Schneier
  • Star Tribune South
  • August 17, 2005

Wouldn’t it be great if your neighbors were really good cooks, and invited you over for dinner every single night of the week. And they served a lot of foods you and your family love, along with some unusual and delicious options? That’s pretty much the case in Farmington, where exceptional homemade food awaits you at Ted’s Pizza.

The restaurant is nothing to look at, and we’re sure you’ll have second thoughts about eating there. But put those second thoughts out of your mind and order.

The pizza comes with either thick crust or thin, and we suggest the crispy, pliable perfection of Ted’s thin crust. Pizza is not about the crust, even one with homemade dough. The sauce is as good as can be; so are the various pizza toppings. We don’t believe in canned mushrooms on pizza, and neither does Ted’s. You can either select your own toppings, or order one of their specials. While the specials are a better deal than mixing and matching, we recommend you ask that they not add the extra cheese. There’s nothing wrong with the cheese, but too much of it overwhelms everything else on the pie.

The pizzas come in three sizes: 12-, 14-, and 16-inch. The smallest is too much for two to finish when you start with wings and salad, and the biggest pizza is perfect for a few hungry teenagers.

Ted’s may well serve the best chicken wings in the Cities. They’re a bit crispy outside, and tender inside, delicious the way perfectly cooked chicken should be. The Buffalo sauce they use is low on the vinegar scale, and flavorsome but not too hot, which makes it easy to tuck away a dozen wings. The order of six pieces is just too small, especially with that great blue cheese dressing alongside.

The spaghetti is another great option. No, they don’t make their own pasta, but they make great sauce and they make their own meatballs. These are the real deal: dense, a little chewy, and wonderful. The lasagna is also great.

Ted and Alaka Kouzas are Greek and that’s what makes their restaurant special. Born in Greece, Alaka was raised in Northfield, and she brought her husband Ted home to Minnesota along with a wonderful baklava recipe.

We loved the gyros sandwiches, homemade tsatziki (cucumber yogurt sauce) on slices of perfectly cooked lamb with tomatoes and good sweet onion. Their classic Greek salad is so tasty: cool crisp iceberg lettuce topped with onion, tomato, pickled peppers, feta cheese and wonderful homemade dressing. The larger version is a perfect summertime supper.

The menu also runs to garlic bread, which we found too soft to be great, though it had plenty of garlic, and fried chicken, which we were too full to try. Given how much we liked everything else at Ted’s, we believe the chicken dinner (served with fries and salad) is probably darned good.

Ted’s Pizza does a brisk take-out business, which is great news if your evening commute sends you down Pine Knob Road through Farmington. But even if it doesn’t, consider taking a detour. Because even in the land of corporate trend food and who-cares restaurants, don’t miss this family-run jewel.

18500 Pilot Knob Rd, Farmington
Phone: (651) 460-4400

Mon–Thurs : 4pm–10pm
Fri–Sat: 11am–11pm
Sun: 4pm–9pm

Atmosphere: no frills
Service: warm and friendly
Sound level: Moderate
Recommended dishes: Buffalo wings, Greek salad, spaghetti
Prices: Pizzas $10–$17, pastas $6–$8, salads $3–$8
Children: Small kids menu, but who doesn’t like pizza?

Sidebar photo of Bruce Schneier by Joe MacInnis.